Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Impeach, Bush, Cheney: HOUSE LOCKS ITS DOORS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 25 YEARS FOR SPYING BILL!

Click for a full report.

Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Friday, March 14, 2008


Let’s March To Put An End To The Madness Of
This Regime…

Out Of Iraq and Out of The White House. Impeach Bush and Cheney NOW!


The Associated Press -
Democrats on the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees were unconvinced after being presented with the same material. The surveillance law is intended ...
See all stories on this topic

Bush Threatens Veto Video Message: Bush threatens veto

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House held a closed session Thursday for the first time in 25 years to discuss a hotly contested surveillance bill.

Republicans requested privacy for what they termed "an honest debate" on the new Democratic eavesdropping measure that is opposed by the White House and most Republicans in Congress.

Lawmakers were forbidden to disclose what was said during the hour-long session. The extent to which minds were changed, if at all, should be more clear Friday, when the House was expected to openly debate and then vote on the bill.

Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas said she didn't believe anyone changed positions but that the session was useful because no one would be able to complain on Friday that their views had not been heard.

"We couldn't have gone more of an extra mile to make sure we're doing the best for national security," she told The Associated Press.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview that he read aloud the titles — but not details — of intelligence reports "that shows the nature of the global threat and how dynamic the situation is, and how fluid."

Hoekstra said the House discussed the procedures intelligence agencies use to protect the identities of innocent Americans whose calls and e-mails are incidentally intercepted in wiretaps.

Hoekstra said three Democrats spoke as did eight or nine Republicans.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said "there was nothing new, nothing that wasn't public, nothing that can't and shouldn't be debated on the floor tomorrow in open session."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said he heard nothing new that would change his mind about the bill.

"Tomorrow, I will urge members on both sides of the aisle to vote for this legislation," Hoyer said.

The last such session in the House was in 1983 on U.S. support for paramilitary operations in Nicaragua. Only five closed sessions have taken place in the House since 1825.

Four members declined to sign the confidentiality oath required to participate in the closed session, House staff members said……MORE, MORE, MORE!!!

National Dragnet Is a Click Away
Several thousand law enforcement agencies are creating the foundation of a domestic intelligence system through computer networks that analyze vast amounts of police information to fight crime and root out terror plots.
(By Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Ellen Nakashima, The Washington Post)

The Cold, Cold Steel of Handcuffs by Cindy Sheehan / March 13th, 2008

With the unbelievable 5th anniversary of “shock and awe” looming before us like a dark cancer that is out of control, the Buffoon in Chief, George W. Bush, once again tormented the nation with another obscene display of idiocy. This time at the Gridiron Club. Singing to the tune of “Green, Green Grass of Home” he warbles about the major scandals of his administration: Valerie Plame; Katrina; cronyism; Harriet Miers and Brownie; Dick Cheney and the fatal attraction (for our troops and innocent people in the Middle East) that they all have for the Saudi Royal Family, etc.

The worst thing about the performance, besides that anyone would think that almost 8 years of unpunished high crimes and misdemeanors is anywhere near approaching funny, the stellar-in-their-own-minds, Washington “Elite” and some of the press corps were laughing uproariously and gave the traitor wearing a tuxedo and a cowboy hat a standing ovation.

Cameras were banned that night and from what I understand, agreements were made that video would not be shot, but still the song can be heard on YouTube. I get the feeling when these modern day Vampires get together like this, they frequently laugh at the rest of us with their parodies of heartache and devastation and chuckle all the way to the bank when they cash their paychecks drawn on the blood of so many innocent people.

On a par with his other wickedly “hilarious” bit about looking for WMD at the Correspondent’s Dinner in 2004 right before his lies killed my son, Casey, whenever I see George tap-dancing, smirking, snickering, singing, or generally acting very undignified and un-presidential; I just want to scream: “What’s so freaking funny?” I have found many opportunities for laughter and joy over the past four years, but I still lie awake at night mourning my son who wouldn’t be in an early grave if his commander-in-chief was not such an unrepentant murderer.

I am not the only one who has been sent into a lifelong paradigm of grief and longing during the years of BushCo. There are literally millions of people in Iraq and Afghanistan whose lives have been torn asunder by Mr. Vaudeville. Thousands of our own citizens in the Gulf States are still displaced from their homes by Katrina and the incompetence of the “Brownie” that George parodies in his song. Many of us have lost our jobs, our homes, our health insurance, our retirement safety net and pine for any semblance of financial security while George just wants to shake the dust of DC off his feet and head back to his pig farm in Crawford and live a life filled with “clearing brush.” I hope he’s been saving his money, because gas has just about tripled since his reign of terror began almost 8 years ago.

The death of the 4000th soldier KIA in Iraq will probably coincide with the fifth anniversary of the invasion this month. 4000 souls who won’t get a “do-over” or be able to slink off into relative peace and quiet like BushCo. Other troops have been turned into occupiers, torturers and puppy-killers and will have to have some deep therapy to be re-integrated into our society and the Washington Press Corps laugh at George’s antics like they are not also responsible for the mayhem he has unleashed on the world.

George and Dick think that they are getting off scott-free from their crimes against humanity probably because they are confident that the reich-wing, reactionary Supreme Court will support their crimes after Congress approves them.

We need to join the world community and communities like Brattleboro. Vt. in relentlessly pressing for war crimes tribunals against George and Dick, et al. For once, American regimes cannot ride contentedly into the sunset after their terms are up to live in comfort while millions of us suffer. It cannot happen this time. BushCo need to be, if not confined behind bars, confined into small prisons of their own making and be terrified to step outside their cloistered existences lest they be swept into real prisons, housed with the real people that they always condemned in their unbridled arrogance.

By my calculations there are 314 more days of the Bush nightmare left; millions of more people to kill or oppress; at least one more country on their list of impending invasions; and countless more crimes against our constitution to commit. Electing a black man with the middle name of Hussein or a woman with Bush-style foreign policy credentials will not be enough to redeem our standing in the world after 8 years of George. They need to go now. It took New York less than 48 hours to get rid of Gov. Eliot Spitzer for crimes far less egregious than BushCo’s. Unless the 110th Congress wants to go down in infamy as fiddling while George burns the world, then they had better get busy.

I was thinking what would be an appropriate gift for BushCo on the fifth anniversary of their greatest crime against humanity and I researched what would be a socially acceptable fifth anniversary gift for them. Wood is the traditional choice, and being a peace activist who is opposed to the death penalty, an electric chair did not even cross my mind (well—it did for just a second.) The modern gift on the fifth anniversary is “silverware.” I would chip in for silver-plated handcuffs that they can stylishly wear to prison.


AlterNet Editorial: Iraq Vets Will Detail U.S. Atrocities in Winter Soldier Hearings

By Editorial Staff, AlterNet. Posted March 11, 2008.

Click To Go To Video

History in the making: AlterNet brings you special coverage of the 2008 Winter Soldiers' Investigation.

Also in A Soldier Speaks

The Evangelical Christian Takeover of the Military
David Antoon

Unravelling Wartime Myths
Sean Gonsalves

What's So Wrong With Wearing Heels and Makeup?
Susan Park

With Lt. Watada's Case, GI Resistance Grows
Sarah Olson

A Soldier Speaks RSS Feed

Main AlterNet RSS Feed


This week, on March 13-16, a new generation of "Winter Soldiers" -- veterans of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq -- will descend on the nation's capitol to tell America in their own words what they saw during their service in the "war on terror," the Bush administration's signature policy. They'll give a ground's eye perspective on the occupation's toll on the people of those countries and the costs to the military, and they'll tell stories of what it was really like in places like Fallujah and Ramadi -- places that are just names on a map to most of the people back home.

They'll be following large footsteps. In the early months of 1971, a group of Vietnam vets, organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), gave two days of testimony about the Vietnam that they had seen, up close and all-too-personally, in the original "Winter Soldier" investigation. While largely dismissed by the political establishment, their wrenching testimony redoubled the peace movement's efforts to end that war.

In his opening statement 37 years ago, William Crandell, a 26 year-old lieutenant who served in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division -- the division that committed the infamous My Lai Massacre -- told the hushed room, "The Winter Soldier Investigation is not a mock trial. There will be no phony indictments; there will be no verdict against Uncle Sam." He promised "straightforward testimony -- direct testimony -- about acts which are war crimes under international law. Acts which these men have seen and participated in. Acts which are the inexorable result of national policy."

And they did just that. Over two days, more than a 100 vets of the Vietnam conflict bore witness to the horrors that they had seen with their own eyes -- "the inexorable result of national policy." One panel examined the question, "What are we doing to Vietnam?" and another asked "What are we doing to ourselves?"

The media largely ignored the hearings. The East Coast papers, with the exception of a New York Times article a week after the event, refused to even cover them. The VVAW complained of an "official censorship blackout."

That was before the right had built its formidable echo chamber -- before Fox News, the Washington Times, the New York Sun and the emergence of the right-wing blogosphere, with its instinctive attacks on any who question the morality of the "war on terror." It's difficult to imagine the kind of character assassinations the soldiers who gather in Washington this week will face from the war's supporters, but it's likely that they're going to redefine courage and genuine patriotism in the face of withering criticism.

But the progressive community is also better prepared to push back against those attacks this time around. A robust alternative media, of which AlterNet is proud to play a role, will at least allow this new generation of Winter Soldiers to be heard. You can get involved as well by supporting IVAW, by tuning in to the proceedings live via the internet, satellite TV and select Pacifica Radio stations, or you can organize an event to view the testimony with others in your community.

All week, AlterNet will feature special coverage of the hearings. Each day leading up to the event, we'll be posting some of the transcripts from the 1971 event. You can read Lt. Crandell's opening statement and testimony from members of the First Marine Division, and we'll post more as the week progresses. We'll also take a look back at the impact the original hearings had on the anti-war movement and on the larger debates of the day.

Several members of the AlterNet team will be in Washington this weekend, and we'll bring you the sights and sounds and in-depth coverage that the commercial media won't.

Resist In

his March, while tens of thousands of Americans in Washington, D.C., and all over the United States will be participating in acts of nonviolent civil resistance to protest the ongoing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and involuntarily deployed U.S. soldiers and innocent civilian victims will begin another year of occupation, torture, and murder, U.S. congress members will be on vacation (from the 15th to 30th, technically a "district work period"), ignoring the killing and suffering they have enabled, supported, and financed.

Release: Massive Day of Nonviolent Action in Washington, D.C. on March 19 to Mark Anniversary of 5 Years of War in Iraq

Contact: Samantha Miller,
March 7th, 2008

Washington, DC -- On Wednesday, March 19, 2008, the U.S. occupation in Iraq will enter its 6th year. To mark this tragic anniversary, over 30 peace and justice organizations are uniting their efforts, under the umbrella of United for Peace and Justice, in an unprecedented day of coordinated nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience against the "Pillars of War" that sustain the illegal U.S. occupation. Details about the plans for the day can be found at

More than 1 million Iraqis and nearly 4,000 U.S. servicepeople have been killed, 2 million Iraqis are living as refugees in other countries and another 2.5 million are displaced within Iraq. More than $500 billion has already been spent on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and now, as the country fumbles into recession, the Bush administration is asking Congress for at least another $102 billion.

The vast majority of the people of this country and in Iraq want this war to end, yet policymakers in Washington have still not used their power to bring the troops home. We are no longer just waiting on Congress to do the will of the people. We will take action ourselves to end this war. There are already people from over 36 states coming to Washington to participate, and more are signing up every day.

Our actions on Wednesday, March 19, are aimed at the "Pillars of War" and represent a broadening of our strategy to end the war. By disrupting those who are promoting and profiting from war, we hope to drive home the popular mandate and resistance to this war. Here is a brief overview of the actions are being planned:

The Military: The people of the U.S. want our military to stop lying about supporting the troops and start doing it. Veterans will be taking action at multiple government sites.

Funding: The people of the U.S. want funding for healthcare and education -- not death and destruction through military actions. Actions include a blockade of the IRS.

War Profiteers: The people of the U.S. refuse to let these companies siphon off our tax dollars to profit from the death of innocent people. Several offices of key war profiteers, including several oil companies, will be shut down.

The Security State: The people of the U.S. will no longer fear our government and ambiguous foreign threats -- we will stand together against them and oppose their march to fascism. Look for waterboarding demonstrations and a procession of the dead.

The Media: The people of the U.S. demand the truth, and media based on responsible, investigative and robust reporting, free of governmental and corporate interests. Surprise media actions throughout the day.


United for Peace and Justice is the largest grassroots anti-war coalition in the country, consisting of more than 1,400 local and national groups throughout the United States who have joined together to protest the immoral and disastrous Iraq War and oppose our government's policy of permanent warfare and empire-building. UFPJ has organized the largest anti-war demonstrations in both NYC and Washington, DC, over the past five years. For more details, go to

To mark this 5th Anniversary, UFPJ is organizing and supporting the Winter Soldier hearings, mass nonviolent direct action in Washington DC, and local actions all around the country. We believe it has been Five Years too Many, At Too Great a Cost.

Go to for more info and action details.

5th Anniversary International Solidarity Actions

Take Action in the Nation’s Capital!

March 19th offers a unique opportunity for our movement to grow after 5 years of war. We know there are key pillars of support that enable this illegal and immoral war for oil and global domination to continue. On March 19th we will take nonviolent direct action to disrupt each of these key pillars in Washington DC and in communities across this country. In what we hope will be an unprecedented day of collective action and solidarity we will take a variety of actions over a 24-hour period to commemorate 5 years of war

Sound the Alarm at Union Station


March 18th, 5:00 PM - 400 North Capitol St.

Building on a recent action in New York City, this copy-cat action is an opportunity for all of us to come together in one place to put out a dramatic call for people to join us the next day to commemorate the anniversary of the start of the war and occupation of Iraq.

This action will only take a short amount of time and is perfectly legal so all can participate. It also fits into the day’s schedule, happening after CODEPINK’s day of action and before their evening event and planning meetings happening for the next day.

What Will Happen

This action will occur during rush hour at Union Station. All who participate (we need upwards of 200 people to make it successful, and the more the better) will meet at Union Station 15 minutes beforehand.

At a given time we will enter at different points individually or in groups of no more than 2 or 3. At a set moment as we proceed through the crowds we will all freeze in place holding our positions in frozen motion for 5 minutes for 5 years of war.

When we move again, we will step forward using our collective voice in a call to the people to “RISE UP – END THE WAR!” For those that have a few more minutes to spare we will follow-up with intensive leafleting throughout the station.

You can see the incredible video of what this could be like—Frozen Grand Central.

The overall message will be Five Minutes of Stillness Remembering Five Years of War. This action will kick-off a period of actions culminating 24 hours later with a march on the DNC Headquarters.

There will be a press release sent out to this effect and also independent videographers that will document this for a YouTube video to be uploaded that night. This can be a convergence action involving everyone who is in DC that night for March 19th that also previews what is to come the next day.

Please dress as you are or wear a button, t-shirts, etc. that can subtly communicate our message in a way that is not blatant like at a protest. Please if you can wear a watch or have a cell phone these are some of the ways we will synchronize our actions.

We hope you will join in this creative and dramatic action. Our creativity and imagination are our most powerful tools for capturing attention, waking people up and building peace.

The Pillars of War

What Are the Pillars and How Can We Topple Them on the 19th and Beyond?

The Military

The US government can't fight war or maintain an occupation without troops -- or without obedient troops. Nor can they begin new wars without enough compliant soldiers and the military machine to carry it out. Right now the military is culpable for sending U.S. troops to occupy Iraq under false pretenses, without proper training or protection and for changing soldiers' original agreements through stop-loss programs. The military's targeted recruitment campaigns are full of lies and gross violations of the civil liberties and privacy rights of America's youth. Troops returning home with debilitating mental and physical injuries are not provided with the services, care or resources they need to heal and return to healthy civilian lives.

The American people want our military to stop lying about supporting the troops and start doing it.

This pillar can be weakened by supporting by doing counter-recruitment work, and supporting GI resistance and events like Winter Soldier, organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Actions on the 19th in DC include:

Veterans March for Peace: Will visit several key sites with creative acts of civil resistance culminating with an action at the White House and the Veterans Administration.

Granny Peace Brigade Knit-In: The Grannies will knit stump socks for soldiers returning from Iraq & Afghanistan with amputated limbs to draw attention to this epidemic among Iraq veterans and the lack of care provided our veterans.

Winter Soldier Testimony to be Broadcast in McPherson Square: featuring testimony from U.S. veterans who served in those occupations and sharing with the world an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.


So far the United States has spent over $500 billion on this war -- with money that comes straight from taxpayer dollars & the Congress. More then $200 billion more has already been earmarked for the occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan even as the U.S. fumbles into recession. This is only a small portion of total U.S. military spending, which exceeds 50% of the entire federal budget.

The American people want funding for healthcare and education -- not death and destruction through military actions.

This pillar can be weakened by keeping the pressure on Congress and the presidential candidates to stop funding the war, and we can escalate our pressure through direct action! We can also take matters into our own hands by directly refusing to pay for the war through war tax resistance. Part of the responsibility for the war's funding rests with those of us who pay for it.

Actions on the 19th in DC include:

Blockade the IRS with War Resisters League and CODEPINK to expose the real cost of war by shutting down the IRS first thing in the morning and making a clear statement to stop funding the war!

March on the DNC with United for Peace and Justice! Twenty-four hours from when we began, we will gather at the Reflecting Pool on the West side of the Capitol and march with pots and pans in a cacophony of resistance to the Democratic National Committee Headquarters. Here we will make it clear that we hold them accountable for the death, destruction and lies, and that we will continue to take action and intervene in their business until our call for peace is honored and all of our troops come home.

War Profiteers

Corporations are essential to continuing the occupation in Iraq, and forcing them to withdraw their participation would shut down essential parts and motives for the war. American corporations have contracts in Iraq to provide weapons, mercenary private security, and reconstruction services, and are involved in the efforts to privatize Iraq's economy, especially the oil industry. Many of these corporations -- such as Exxon, Bechtel, Blackwater, Lockheed Martin, Chevron, Shell and Halliburton -- have offices in the K Street corridor in downtown Washington DC, and they are all making record-breaking profits from corporate participation in the occupation. Despite numerous allegations of human rights violations, murder, rape, improper conduct & wasteful spending, these companies continue to coordinate the occupation with no congressional oversight.

The American people refuse to let these companies siphon off our tax dollars to profit from the death of innocent people.

Actions on the 19th in DC include:

  • No War No Warming: Separate oil and state at the American Petroleum Institute. Help create a people's Green Zone in front the API. Big Oil pours millions into political campaigns and lobbying, helped get us into Iraq, is keeping us there in a planned long-term occupation and is obstructing the shift to a clean energy economy. Our Green Zone will highlight our opposition but also our commitment to building a future where we rely on wind, solar and other urgently-needed clean energy sources. Nonviolent civil disobedience, street theater, creative props, leafletting and more!
  • Funk the War: Join Students for a Democratic Society for a dance party in the streets, touring the war profiteers in the K St corridor.
  • Critical Mass -- "Kick the Oil Addiction that Fuels the War": We will ride around the city focusing on specific areas that support the war as well as riding by other actions to show our solidarity. All are welcome to come ride with us on March 19. We will meet in Dupont Cirle at 8:30 am and leave around 9:00 am. Please come with costumes or signs about no oil.
  • Self-Guided Monopoly Board Walking Tour of the K St. Area: All day long there will be opportunities to creatively communicate with the War Profiteers in the K St. Corridor like American Petroleum Institute, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Bechtel, the IMF/World Bank, the American Enterprise Institute, and lobbyists and lawyers for many, many more!

Security State

With 9-11 we saw the creation of Homeland Security, the imposition of the Patriot Act and increased willingness to continue to engage in actions that violate the Geneva Conventions. US policy has led to Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, immigrant detention centers in the US, torture and interrogation, use of lethal and non-lethal weapons against civilian populations, etc. All of these tools are used to shut down dissent, disrupting the lives and livelihoods of ordinary citizens through warrantless wire-tapping, data-mining, and travel restrictions in epic proportions. Politicians continue to perpetuate fear through rhetoric and lies.

The American people will no longer fear our government and ambiguous foreign threats -- we will stand together against them and oppose their march to fascism.

Actions on the 19th in DC include:

  • The Silenced Majority Speaks: Through a number of permitted sites, including McPherson Square (15th & K Streets NW), Lafayette Park, Farragut Square and other areas around the Capitol, as well as organized marches and creative affinity groups' activities, people will express their desire for true democracy, liberation and justice. We will call for respect for our basic political freedoms and rights while we show our disdain for the state of our union.
  • March of the Dead will remember the crimes committed at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and by contractors like Blackwater Security! Activist Response Team (A.R.T.) and other activists wearing white masks and black clothing will converge on the D.C. transportation system, the State Department, the Justice Department, Supreme Court and more sites, culminating at the DNC. Some will wear the name of someone killed; others will have statistics measuring the scale of the tragedy.
  • End Torture: Waterboarding demonstrations will take place at key sites around the city culminating in Lafayette Park in front of the White House with World Can't Wait.

Mainstream Media

Corporate media's now documented steady stream of lies, distortions and repetition of the Bush administration "global war on terror" propaganda was essential in whipping up and continuing public support for the illegal invasion, war and occupation. The media has continued to stand by our warmongering president and Congress by refusing to conduct proper investigative reporting, withholding information, cooperating with unjust provisions of the Patriot Act, and neglecting its responsibility as the 4th estate.

The American people demand the truth, and media based on responsible, investigative and robust reporting free of governmental and corporate interests.

Actions on the 19th in DC include:

Surprise! Coverage earlier in the day will help determine our afternoon actions! If they don't come to us, we will go to them!

How to Access Winter Soldier Broadcasts


(1) Free Speech TV: March 14 and 15, 9:00am – 9:00pm EST

  • On the DishNetwork: Channel 9415

Free Speech TV is a full-time national satellite channel that reaches over 20 million homes in the United States via satellite broadcast on the DishNetwork. They will carry two full days of Winter Soldier.

(2) Link TV: March 14th and/or 15th (times to be announced)

  • On the DishNetwork: Channel 9411
  • On DirectTV: Channel 375

Link TV has yet to determine how much of Winter Soldier they will broadcast and at what times. Check the IVAW website for exact times.

(3) Your local public access channel via Free Speech TV
Public access television stations across the the country have been supplied with consumer DishNetwork satellite dishes and setup units that enable them to receive Free Speech TV programming. Already there are over 150 cities that downlink DishNetwork satellite broadcasts and rebroadcast the programming on their cable channels. All cable systems -- Time Warner, Comcast, Adelphia, etc. -- are required by franchise agreements to provide public access channels to local communities as part of their basic package. Contact your local public access cable channel and ask them to carry all or part of Free Speech TV's Winter Soldier broadcast. If your local public access channel has not acquired a DishNetwork satellite system yet, they can easily and inexpensively do so by ordering an installation of the system from the DishNetwork.

(4) Direct from Satellite
Many colleges and universities, public access cable stations and media centers have KU Band digital satellite dishes. They can tune their satellite dish to the following coordinates and bring in the signal live from Washington, DC. Local news channels can also pick up the broadcast by tuning their satellite dishes to the following coordinates:

Satellite: HORIZONS 2 (Ku) Dig
Transponder: 16 - Ch C
Orbital Slot: 74° WL
Bandwidth: 9 MHz
Downlink Freq: 11984.5 (H)
Carrier Access: Intelsat America (800)631-3562
Satellite Time: 9:00-21:00 ET

KPFA, the Pacifica Radio Network's station in the Bay Area, will be broadcasting live coverage of the hearings on this schedule (all times times are east coast):

Friday, March 14 from 10 am to 7 pm
Saturday, March 15 from 9 am to 7 pm
Sunday, March 16 from 10 am to 4 pm

Pacifica will also be uploading the broadcast to their KU satellite, so any radio station that has access to the KU satellite or a KU webstream mirror should also be able to download that live broadcast. Radio stations that are part of the Pacifica affiliate program should all have access to the KU satellite. If your local station does not have access, or if they are not sure, please contact us at so we can help them make the necessary links.

(1) Streaming video will be accessible at from Thursday, March 13, through Sunday, March 16.

(2) Streaming audio will be accessible at from Friday, March 14, through Sunday, March 16.

The Support Group

  1. After Downing Street
  2. Ann Wright, retired Colonel
  3. Artists Against The War
  4. Backbone Campaign
  5. Busboys and Poets
  6. Camp Casey Peace Institute
  7. Campus Anti-War Network, DC branch
  8. Change for Hope
  9. Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice
  10. Coalition for the Constitution
  12. Consumers for Peace
  13. Crawford Texas Peace House
  14. DC Poets against the War
  16. Delaware Valley Veterans For America
  19. Florida Peace Action
  20. Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
  21. Gold Star Families for Peace
  22. Grassroots America 4 US
  23. Green Party Peace Network
  25. Iraq Veterans Against the War Boston chapter
  26. Iraq Veterans Against The War DC chapter
  27. Loose Change
  28. Maine Green Independent Party
  29. National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
  30. National Campus Anti-War Network
  32. New Hampshire Veterans for Peace
  33. North Texas for Peace and Justice
  34. Our Spring Break
  35. People United for Peace
  36. Resist in March
  37. Scott Hamann, documentary film maker
  38. SON OF NUN
  39. Stop-Loss Congress
  40. Student Peace Action Network S.P.A.N. national
  41. The Critical Voice
  42. The Kennebunks Peace Department
  43. The New England Peace Pagoda
  44. VETERANS FOR PEACE, national
  45. Veterans for Peace, Smedley Butler Brigade
  46. Washington Peace Center
  47. World Against War
  48. World Can't Wait ! Drive Out The Bush Regime !
  50. YOUTH and Student A.N.S.W.E.R.

Elsewhere on the Washington Scene:

The Press Club

Busboys and Poets (5*****)

What Can Students Do to End the War and Impeach Bush/Cheney?
OpEdNews - Newtown,PA,USA
by Kevin Gosztola Page 1 of 3 page(s) Being right does not benefit the movement to stop the war and impeach Bush/Cheney. Nothing is accomplished by groups ...

Inspector General Report: Highest Ranking FBI Counterterrorism Officials Approved Illegal Searches

On January 12, 2008, Mr. Youssef addressed a convention of the American Library Association and explained how the lack of subject matter expertise within the FBI was the root cause of the FBI's NSL fiasco.

Bush Could Call Off Elections
OpEdNews - Newtown,PA,USA
To avoid this bitter result and restore our constitutional republic Congressional Democrats must grow a spine, impeach Bush and Cheney, remove them from ...

Click to view today's DOJ OIG Report

Dear Ed.,

On Saturday, President Bush vetoed legislation that would have banned the U.S. government from using waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques."

This veto is one of the most shameful acts of his presidency.

Unless Congress overrides the veto, this will go down in history as a flagrant insult to the rule of law and a serious stain on the good name of America in the eyes of the world.

There's never been a more important time to take a stand again torture.

Join tens of thousands of other concerned Americans and sign my petition now:

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely, Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Dear Ed.,

Waterboarding and every other form of torture are wrong. Now we have a chance to make this crystal clear in U.S. law.

President Bush's nominee for Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, claims current law is not specific enough for him to stand up and stop President Bush's misguided policy. He won't have any more excuses after this legislation passes.

Here's what's happening. I've introduced the Torture Prevention and Effective Interrogation Act to make one basic reform: apply the Army Field Manual -- which prohibits brutal techniques like waterboarding -- to all U.S. government interrogators, not just those in the Department of Defense. With this simple measure, we will clarify the law this Administration has so shamefully distorted.

Stand with me against torture:

When Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, we recognized that the Army Field Manual embodies our most responsible interrogation techniques. It contains rules that protect our own personnel from torture, ensure that we collect only credible information in pursuing terrorists, and prevent the secret abuse of detainees.

The Bush Administration, however, exploited a loophole -- the Act applies only to the Department of Defense, not to other agencies like the CIA. The Bush Administration continued to rely on false and deceptive legal justifications for the brutal techniques we've heard so much about.

One Department of Justice memo defined torture so narrowly that "it must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." This outrageous reasoning contradicts the military's own established standards, flunks the fundamental test of human rights, and endangers Americans serving throughout the world.

The U.S Commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, has denounced brutal interrogation techniques and said, "history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary."

My legislation ensures that our government honors its commitment to the basic rights enshrined in the Geneva Conventions.

It will protect both the values we cherish as a free society and the lives of our servicemen and women overseas.

Make your own statement that torture is not an American value:

The Torture Prevention and Effective Interrogation Act is an opportunity to restate our commitment to the security and ideals of our country. It is an opportunity to repair some of the damage done to our international reputation by the Abu Ghraib scandal and the abuses at Guantanamo, restore our nation's role as a beacon for human rights, fair treatment, and the rule of law. It is an opportunity to protect our own brave servicemen and women from such tactics.

It's a simple measure that's long overdue.

Now it's up to Congress to restore the rest of the government to the principles of law and justice that make this country great. Show your support for the Torture Prevention and Effective Interrogation Act today:

Sincerely, Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Tara Setmayer (202) 225-2415

The Administration and Congressional Oversight Floor Speech



-- (House of Representatives - February 26, 2008)--

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 18, 2007, the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher) is recognized for 60 minutes.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Madam Speaker , I come to the floor tonight with a heavy heart. The nature of the allegations I make speaks poorly of this administration. In my heart of hearts, I have always wanted this administration to succeed, but the issue at hand is of such magnitude that the American people need to know what is being done and what precedents are being set.

In my tenure as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, both as chairman and ranking member of an investigative subcommittee, I have witnessed firsthand behavior by the Bush administration which I find deeply troubling.

The disdain and uncooperative nature that this administration has shown toward Congress, including Republican Members, is so egregious that I can no longer assume that it is simply bureaucratic incompetence or isolated mistakes. Rather, I have come to the sad conclusion that this administration has intentionally obstructed Congress' rightful and constitutional duties.

Tonight I will discuss some serious examples of this administration's contemptuous disregard for the authority delegated to Congress by the Constitution. This bad attitude has consistently manifested itself in a sophomoric resentment toward Congress' constitutional role as an equal branch of government. The result has been an executive branch too insecure to let Congress do its job, an executive branch that sees Congress, even when Republicans held the majority, as a rival and a spoiler, rather than as elected representatives of the American people playing a rightful role in establishing policy for our great country.

Unfortunately, when the President of the United States rejects the legitimacy of congressional prerogatives, there are serious consequences. Tonight, I will provide examples of how this administration for the past 7 years has undercut congressional investigators, has lied to Members of Congress, and has forged ahead with secret deals in spite of efforts and pleas by Congress to be informed, if not involved.

In the last Congress, I was chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In that capacity, I learned that in the time immediately leading up to the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, convicted Oklahoma City bomber and murderer Terry Nichols had been in Cebu City in the Philippines. His stay in Cebu City coincided with another visitor to that city, al Qaeda's terrorist leader Ramsey Yousef. Interestingly, both Nichols and Yousef used similar bombs and methods just 2 years apart to blow up two American targets. Yousef was the mastermind of the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Nichols was a coconspirator in the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995.

By the way, I would like to acknowledge that today happens to be the 15-year anniversary of that first devastating attack on the World Trade Center.

These individuals, one American and one Arab, were responsible for planning two of the most lethal terrorist attacks on our countrymen in our history. We are to believe that by coincidence they ended up in an off-the-beaten-track city in the Southern Philippines? One doesn't have to be a conspiracy nut to understand that this coincidence is certainly worth looking into.

I started an official congressional investigation sanctioned by Henry Hyde, then the chairman of the International Relations Committee, to see whether Terry Nichols or his accomplice, Timothy McVeigh, had foreign help in their murderous terrorist bombing of the Alfred Murrah Building in Oklahoma City.

In light of the fact that Terry Nichols and Ramsey Yousef were both in Cebu City at the same time prior to hauntingly similar terrorist attacks, it was no stretch for a congressional investigative committee to be looking into this matter. However, the Bush administration felt quite differently. To those I had to deal with, it was ``case closed, don't bother us.'' They had looked into the matter, and Congress should simply and blindly accept their conclusion that there was no Nichols-Yousef connect ion. ``Don't bother us.'' This was at times bureaucratic laziness, and at other times it was clearly based on a disdain for congressional investigations and authority.

During my investigation, I secured Ramsey Yousef's cell phone records. The records were part of the phone calls that he made when he was in that New York City area in the months just prior to the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.

The phone records show that Ramsey Yousef made at least two phone calls to a row house in Queens, New York.

That row house was occupied by the cousin of Terry Nichols' Filipina wife. Let me repeat that. The terrorist bomber of the first World Trade Center attack, the nephew of al Qaeda 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, made phone calls to the same row house that was occupied by Terry Nichols' cousins-in-law just 2 months before he exploded t he bomb in the garage of the World Trade Center 15 years ago. Another coincidence?

I gave this information to the Department of Justice and since that time have repeatedly sought their help in investigating this matter. Time after time, my requests have gone unanswered or have just been flatly denied.

I also asked the Department of Justice on numerous occasions to help me investigate the name Samir Khahil. This name is on a list of unindicted co-conspirators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a gain in connection with Ramsey Yousef.

It also is the name, by the way, of an Iraqi man in Oklahoma City who at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing employed an Arab immigrant who fits the description originally made by numerous witnesses as to John Doe II.

This Oklahoma-based Iraqi lied, meaning the John Doe II look-alike, lied to the investigators about his whereabouts at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, yet there was little if any follow-up on this John Doe II look-alike. In fact, the FBI simply declared that John Doe II never existed. The existence of John Doe II, let it be remembered, was based on a sketch and sketches derived from witnesses on the scene of the Oklahoma City bombing and the truck rental company in which that bomb was placed on a truck from that truck rental company. Those witnesses described a man who, as I say, looked very much like Samir Khahil's employee.

Now, I have repeatedly asked the Department of Justice to tell me if the Samir Khahil on the unindicted coconspirators list of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing is the same Samir Khahil who employed a man originally identified as John Doe II, the bomber, the number two bomber in the Oklahoma City bombing. The Justice Department's answer: ``It would be too burdensome to find out if it was the same man.''

Further, we asked help in finding the Arab immigrant who looked like John Doe II and the man who was employed by Samir Khahil. We traced him to Boston, but we have had no support or cooperation in finding this v ery possible terrorist, or at least terrorist suspect. He may well have been working at Boston's Logan Airport on 9/11/01, the day that a plane took off from that airport and was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center. Another weird coincidence to the Oklahoma City bombing. Another coincidence, yes.

You don't have to be a conspiracy nut to believe that these things should be investigated. Instead, there has been no follow-through, no interest. The case is closed, forget it, both in terms of Samir Khahil and his Iraqi employer and employee; and both of these people, of course, reside in the United States right now.

That is just a small taste of the deplorable lack of cooperation for a legitimate congressional investigation. And it was no fluke. I didn't just happen to snag some uncooperative Federal employee. No, this is the level of non-cooperation Congress has learned to expect from this administration.

Yes, Departments and agencies do have limited resources, and I understand that. I us ed to work in the executive branch. So, yes, there may be some better uses for and some good uses for those limited resources and better uses for their time and investigators, rather than just following up on leads that are provided by Members of Congress.

You can hear someone explaining that. But the lack of cooperation that we have had goes far beyond the fact that they are not going to give their limited resources or even use some of their investigators to track down what most of us would consider a very worthwhile lead, especially considering that the terrorist that we are asking to look into currently resides in the United States and may well have had something to do with the bombing of the World Trade Center and the bombing of the Oklahoma City building there.

But, again, a lot of my requests don't require a lot of time and effort on the part of the executive branch, and I still have been stonewalled. For the past year, for example, I have repeatedly requested to interview the imprisoned terrorist Ramzi Yousef. He is in Colorado and in strict lockup. He has been there for 10 years.

This would have taken no time and no resources from any executive branch or Federal employee. None. This request is well within my committee's jurisdiction as ranking member of the Investigative Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

This request has been supported by the chairman of the Investigative Subcommittee, the chairman of the full Foreign Affairs Committee, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

Such attention by Congress should be welcomed by this administration and every administration. The legislative branch can help bring new information to light and inform the public.

Nevertheless, the Department of Justice, consistent with its treatment of congressional inquiries during the tenure of this President, has dismissed this valid request. This request has been treated with what can only be described as contempt and condescension.

The point is, unfortunately, that this rejectionist attitude is typical. It is not that they don't have enough resources to help out, to look into an easy matter to look into. It is just that they do not want to cooperate with Congress, even when it's a Republican in Congress, even when the Congress was controlled by a Republican majority.

So, why would this administration obstruct congressional inquiries such as this? Remember, Ramzi Yousef was the mastermind behind several devastating terrorist attacks and plots against America. He led the first murderous attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, as I say.

After fleeing to the Philippines, he and two other terrorists plotted to kill thousands of Americans by blowing up 12 commercial airliners over the Pacific at the same time. It was known as the Bojinka plot. It was within 2 weeks of being executed when it was discovered and thwarted by Philippine police.

Interestingly, the terrorist operation, the Bojinka plot, was to take place about the same time as the Oklahoma City Federal building bombing, perhaps on the same day. We don't know. Perhaps we should know. Perhaps we should ask Ramzi Yousef about that.

Ramzi Yousef has been in Federal prison for over a decade. He is a prisoner with a unique understanding of the al Qaeda terrorist structure. He is the nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

In 2006, when I was the chairman of the House Oversight Investigations Subcommittee on the Foreign Affairs Committee, I was investigating Yousef's movements and activities not only in the United States but in the Philippines. I even traveled to the Philippines to question authorities who had captured Yousef's roommate and coconspirator in the Bojinka plot.

In spite of that fact and in spite of the fact that I was looking into Yousef's terrorist activities and in spite of the fact that I had obtained new information about Yousef's phone calls right here in the United States and new information about his associates while he was in the United States, the Department of Justice still dismisses the effort and, more than that, they are obstructing a legitimate congressional investigation, refusing to permit this elected Member of Congress, a ranking member of a congressional investigating committee, to interview a Federal prisoner. They refused access to Yousef claiming that there is a ``ongoing investigation.''

This prisoner has been in jail for over 10 years. It is more likely that what we have here is an ongoing coverup and not an ongoing investigation. In fact, I have been told recently by a former member of the Justice Department that they were told routinely simply to give answers that there is an ongoing investigation even if no ongoing investigation was underway, but simply using it as a phrase to dismiss a request from Congress.

Well, this is outrageous, but it's typical of this administration. This is a lot more than just a hurtful pride on my part of being turned down.

This administration is setting a terrible precedent. What people have to understand, when I am turned down like this, is when there is a liberal Democrat in the White House, the President will have set that Members of Congress can simply be dismissed, and that when they are trying to do a congressional investigation need not be cooperated with, in fact, can be obstructed. Is that the type of President that we want? Is that acceptable? It shouldn't be acceptable to Democrats and it shouldn't be acceptable to Republicans.

Doesn't Congress have a right to talk to Federal prisoners. Are these the rules of engagement? Is it really the rules of engagement that we want for our government that Members of Congress and the legislative branch don't have a right to talk to Federal prisoners?

Well, that's apparently what the Bush administ ration is trying to establish as the executive authority, as executive authority, the right to deny congressional investigators access to Federal prisoners. The danger of this should be easy to understand, both on my side of the aisle, the Republican side, and the Democratic side of the aisle.

Again, the attitude, apparent in the treatment of this request, is not an aberration or is it some sort of situation where this is not really a representative way the President has acted with his authority. No, I am afraid that's not the case.

This request was first made and denied when the Republicans controlled the Congress and I was the chairman of the Investigative Subcommittee.

Now Congress has a Democrat majority. In my position as ranking member of the International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have seen it time and time again.

Our subcommittee chairman, BILL DELAHUNT from Massachusetts, read in the newspaper that our President is negotiating a security agreement with the Iraqi Prime Minister that will govern the future relationship of our countries.

Now let me say that again. The Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs Committee is getting the information about a hugely important foreign bilateral security agreement by reading the newspaper. So, Chairman Delahunt conducted a hearing about the status of such an agreement and invited the administration to send a witness to testify before Congress.

How did the administration respond? They ignored the request. So the hearing was held with a private panel of witnesses, and, yes, the public has a right and an obligation to fully understand such commitments that are being made by the President in our name.

In a democratic society, policy is made after having an open dialogue. George Bush was elected President, not king.

In another attempt last month, our subcommittee held another hearing on the Iraqi security agreement and, again, our panel invited and pleaded with the administration to provide a witness. Their response? Silence.

Our subcommittee held another, a third hearing on this topic. Again, our subcommittee invited the administration to attend and explain to Congress what kind of commitment our government has agreed to with the government of Iraq. Even our full committee chairman wrote letter s asking for the administration to participate in the subcommittee hearing. All the requests to the administration by our committee and by the superiors in the full committee were ignored, except for one, and, in one instance, where the contact was made, and I am sad to say that once again this administration was less than honest on a matter of national importance, Chairman Delahunt's subcommittee was told by a White House staffer that the administration's unwillingness to participate in hearings was because ``There is nothing to talk about because we haven't put pen to paper'' on security, because they haven't put the pen to paper on the security agreement, supposedly.

Well, when confronted with the fact that the New York Times had written a story saying that a 17-page agreement was being passed around, this White House staffer backtracked and quibbled.

This is unacceptable, it's dishonest, and it's typical. It's like saying there is an ongoing investigation; don't discuss anything anymore wit h me. There is nothing going on here.

Now, there is something going on, just as, instead of talking and trying to negotiate about what type of spokesman we could have at a hearing, instead, what we get is an undermining of the congressional right to oversee for the foreign policy decisions of this administration.

This stonewalling prevailed until a few weeks ago, when Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a person and a leader who I deeply admire, testified at a hearing of the full International Relations Committee.

When asked about this issue, about witnesses not showing up from the State Department and this administration to explain to us in public and to discuss in public these very important agreements that are being negotiated with Iraq, she pledged at that time that there would be future witnesses dealing with this Iraqi agreement.

At least Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, feels secure enough in this administration to do what's right and to talk directly to Cong ress and to send her people over to talk to us.

Unfortunately, we had to go all the way to the Secretary of State before we could get anybody in this administration to participate. Let me note, I am a supporter of the President's Iraqi policies. I have been a supporter since day one. I supported the surge, and I am not in favor of some of the propositions made by my friends on the other side of the aisle, which I consider would be a precipitous leaving of Iraq and would cause damage, I believe.

But that's not the point. The point is, Congress has a legitimate oversight responsibility and that the President of the United States should be discussing in public so that the public could understand why policy is being made rather than trying to secretly arrange a policy agreement and then surprise everybody, you know, as a done deal. Sadly, this administration's antipathy to the constitutional responsibilities of the legislative branch of government does not stop and end with my efforts and those of my subcommittee on investigations.

In October of last year, 22 of my colleagues and I wrote to the Acting Attorney General, Peter Keisler, regarding the pending lie detector test for former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger.

Madam Speaker, I submit for the Record, a copy of a letter concerning making that request of Acting Attorney General Peter Keisler.

October 10, 2007.
Acting Attorney General,
Department of Justice,
Washington, DC.


In 2005, former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger pled guilty to the mishandling and destruction of classified documents.

He admitted to entering the National Archives and unlawfully removing, then subsequently destroying, classified documents dealing with terroris t related issues. He removed the documents by stuffing them down his pants and in his suit jacket, presumably with the intention of getting rid of any damning evidence showing his involvement in the failure of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to prevent the Sept. 11th attacks prior to his testimony before the 911 Commission. These documents have never been recovered.

As part of a plea deal, Mr. Berger agreed to take a polygraph test to be administered by the Department of Justice. It has been two years since that agreement and Mr. Berger has yet to fulfill his obligation.

We are writing to officially request that as Attorney General you direct the Department of Justice without any further delay to administer a lie detector test to Mr. Berger and determine what documents were stolen and how our National Security was compromised.

The Congress, and the American people, deserve to know the facts of this crime and what Mr. Berger was covering up. Therefore we respectfully request a dire ctive be issued by your office ordering Mr. Berger to surrender to the Justice Department immediately and that a polygraph test be administered forthwith.

Sincerely, Dana Rohrabacher, Member of Congress.

In 2005, Sandy Berger pled guilty to the mishandling and destruction of classified documents. He admitted that he unlawfully removed and subsequently destroyed classified documents from the National Archives. These documents dealt with the failure of our intelligence agencies during the Clinton administration to prevent the horrendous attacks on 9/11.

As part of his plea, Mr. Berger agreed to a lie detector test which was given by the Department of Justice. This would determine what documents had been stolen by Mr. Berger. We are still waiting for that test to be administered.

As a member, as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I was and still am rightfully concerned about the length of time between his crime and the administration of his lie detector test.

So on October 10, 2007, I sent a letter, that letter signed by 22 of my colleagues, asking the Department of Justice why the test had not been administered.

On October 22, 2007, my office received a form letter acknowledging the DOJ's receipt of our inquiry. It was signed with an illegible signature. We have no idea who signed it. All we know is that he or she penned it ``for'' next to a printed name Brian Benczkowski.

Principally, he is the principal Deputy Assistant Secretary General.

We were also given a tracking number so we could track any future correspondence. In spite of that fact, we received a computer-generated response and a tracking number to an official congressional inquiry, okay, signed by 23 Members of Congress. We had hoped that we would actually have an answer to our request and that there would actually be a human being rather than a tracking number that we could look to.

Well, we got our wish and we got a letter back. On January 24, 2008, 94 days after the letter, we received a response, and I submit the response for the Record.

Washington, DC,
January 24, 2008.

House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

DEAR CONGRESSMAN ROHRBACHER: This is in response to your letter, dated October 10, 2007, in which you requested that the Department of Justice administer a polygraph examination to Mr. Samuel Berger, who pleaded guilty in April 2005, to violations of federal law relating to the removal of copies of classified documents from the National Archives.

We appreciate your interest and have enclosed a copy of our letter, dated February 16, 2007, to the Honorable Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, advising him of our views regarding the Minority Staff Report that was issued regarding this matter. As stated in our response to Chairman Waxman, we believe that there are no facts that would justify a polygraph of Mr. Berger at this time.

We are sending an identical response to the other Members who joined in your letter to us. Please do not hesitate to contact this office if you would like additional assistance regarding this or any other matter.

Sincerely, Brian A. Benczkowski, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

The letter was dismissive and said that the DOJ found no reason to issue a polygraph test to Sandy Berger, and attached was an old letter the DOJ had sent to Chairman Waxman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee almost a year before our correspondence. The letter this time was signed by Brian Benczkowski.

Madam Speaker, I have been a Member of Congress for 19 years. I have never seen such a pattern of blatant disregard and outright disdain for Members of Congress. If Sandy Berger is not to be polygraphed to verify the documents that were stolen from the Archives, we need to know why such verification is not being done. This administration wouldn't even give a respectable answer to the rightful inquiry of Members of Congress of why we are not verifying through a polygraph test what documents were stolen from the National Archives by the former National Security Adviser.

On the one hand, this President believes he has a right to make demands on us. The President said in his State of the Union ad dress that Congress must act on certain issues. We must do as he wishes. We must pass legislation he deems necessary. Yet while 23 Members of Congress write his Justice Department a serious letter of inquiry about a national security issue, we get a computer-generated form letter and a copy of an old response to a different inquiry. The bad attitude I am detailing is pervasive.

The handling of a proposed totalization agreement with Mexico is again yet another example. The totalization agreements, and totalization agreements are not necessarily a bad thing, they can serve a useful function. Large corporations both in the United States and abroad often assign people to work in an overseas office for several years. During these years, employers are double taxed. They pay both Social Security and the equivalent tax in their native countries. Allowing the Social Security Administration and foreign agencies to give credit under one system towards retirement makes sense if there are a limited number of people involved and the people who are involved in this are working here legally and temporarily. The concept itself is not alarming.

However, this is emphatically not the case with Mexico. We have millions of Mexican citizens living illegally in the United States. This is not a limited number of Swedish or Japanese executives who will only work here for a number of years and then go home. Not only are Mexicans not going to return to Mexico; the Mexican Government encourages them to stay in the United States. Af ter all, if the U.S. is going to pay for their health care, their education and now their retirement, why should Mexico be bothered.

Knowing the volatility of the American people on both the Social Security and illegal immigration issues, the totalization negotiations with Mexico were kept totally under wraps. Now remember, these negotiations with Mexico started in 2002 with a Republican-controlled Congress. One would think that a Republican administration would at the very least advise Congress, perhaps giving a status report, concerning such diplomatic efforts as the totalization negotiations with Mexico.

Well, Congress did not know the details until it hit the press. Worse, these press releases on the agreement, put out by the administration, were misleading and it appears that Congress was being misled as to just what the administration had agreed to concerning Social Security benefits for Mexican nationals illegally working in the United States.

Now, I have proposed legislation to ensure that no work done while someone is in this country illegally should be counted towards a Social Security benefit. The administration apparently agreed in the totalization agreement negotiations that illegal aliens from Mexico will be eligible for the same treatment under Social Security as U.S. citizens without ever becoming a legal resident or citizen. It took a long, drawn-out legal battle in the form of a Freedom of Information lawsuit to get the details of this agreement from the administration. Again, stonewalling and concealment, whether it deals with Iraq or whether it deals with a totalization agreement dealing with Social Security rights for the people from Mexico who come to our country illegally.

In both cases, regardless of how you feel about the Iraq policies or Social Security for illegal immigrants into our country, the point is we should not be keeping this debate secret. Congress has a right to oversee such agreements, and we should have a public dialogue about these types of decisions.

T his administration has, as I am pointing out, a history of concealment and in some cases of distorting and actually not telling us the truth about what is going on with these negotiations and agreements that are happening behind closed doors.

Once Congress and the public found out about the agreement in the totalization agreement, a fire storm broke out not just about giving illegals Social Security but about keeping it secret from Congress. Yes, as I said, Congress, as well as America's seniors, have e very right to know if the President of the United States is in the process of signing an agreement to give Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants. It is something we should discuss. It is not something where the President should try to make an agreement behind closed doors. In this case the administration is undermining the public's right to know and the Congress is being left in the dark.

And please remember, the danger from this agreement is not past. Due to the public outrage, it has b een put on the back burner, but the President at any time can submit this agreement to Congress even if he has not detailed it for us now so we can discuss it.

What I am describing is a pattern of arrogance and contempt, and that is especially true not just with Social Security but with broader issues relating to illegal immigration and on issues dealing with Mexico.

The tragic case of wrongly imprisoned Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean exemplifies the worst aspects of this administration's attitude problem, and will forever leave a black mark on this administration.

President Bush has himself made decisions that directly led to the ongoing tragedy which sees these two Border Patrol agents languishing in solitary confinement; and that's where they are today, in solitary confinement, being treated worse than we treat the terrorists in Guantanamo. That is where we are now. That is what they have had to endure in that solitary confinement for over a year.

Now, this is clearly a questionable case, but President Bush has deliberately dug in his heels to protect his good friend and young protégé, the prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. Rather than entertain the probability that a terrible injustice was in progress and instruct the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security to cooperate so Congress could get to the bottom of this nightmare, this President has thumbed his nose at the congressional concerns and initiated a policy of obstruction and denial in terms of Ramos and Compean.

Since the Ramos and Compean case was brought to my attention in September 2006, I have written over a dozen letters to this administration requesting various documents regarding the harsh prosecution of Ramos and Compean. I have been joined by several other Members of Congress in this effort, including Congressmen POE, CULBERSON, and MCCAUL. These three Members of Congress, in fact, attended a briefing on Ramos and Compean's prosecution by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office on September 26, 2006.

In that briefing, serious questions were raised by these three Members about the fundamental justification for this prosecution to begin with. The President and his lap-dog prosecutors would like us to believe that they have no discretion, but these Members of Congress who have long histories in the law and in prosecution, they know. They could see there was something wrong because we know that the actual charges being brought against Ramos and Compean, and they were fully aware of this because these Members of Congress, as I said, have a big background in law, they knew that what charges were being brought were totally at the discretion of the prosecutors. The prosecution's hands were not tied.

What were the grounds for charging these men with crimes like attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, the unlawful discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, and a Federal civil rights violation?

These charges that could have put Ramos and Compean in prison for 10-20 years were totally at the discretion of the prosecution. Did this fit the crime? If there was any crime at all that was committed, why would they be charged with this overwhelming attack by the prosecution knowing that by making these charges these men are going to end up being put away for one or two decades of their life.

These two Border Patrol agents had wounded a fleeing illegal alien drug smuggler who was escaping after assaulting one of the officers who had intercepted the drug dealer during an attempt to bring $1 million worth of drugs into this country. Although they were never intended by Congress to be applied in this way, the gun laws which were applied by the prosecution, the gun law of mandatory prison sentence, was applied to the law enforcement officers in this case, and these law enforcement officers had made a split-second decision to discharge their weapons. Is that right? Isn't there some question about that, considering they threw the book at these guys?

The prosecutors knew that it was not the intent of Congress that they should be charging law enforcement officers with split-second decisions in the discharge of a weapon; but they threw the book at the agents, including the charges that required tens of years of mandatory imprisonment. Again, it was at their discretion that they made these charges.

When Congressmen POE, CULBERSON, and MCCAUL asked why the most serious charges that could be leveled at the Border Patrol agents were initiated by the prosecutors, and why the prosecutors took the word of the drug dealer that he had no weapon rather than the word of the law enforcement officers, the DHS officials, briefing these Congressmen, assured them that this was a legitimate and righteous prosecution. These were, according to the DHS briefing given to these Members of Congress, these were rogue cops. Ramos and Compean were rogue cops, and the Congressmen were told they actually confessed that they knew that the drug smuggler was unarmed and that the agents didn't really feel threatened.

And the biggest lie of all, the Department of Homeland Security briefer insisted that Ramos and Compean had told fellow officers the day of the incident that they ``wanted to shoot a Mexican'' that day. That charge raised eyebrows considering that the accused, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, are themselves Mexican Americans married to Mexican American wives with Mexican American children. Sure, they just go out and intentionally shoot some Mexicans that day. Sure.

This is what Members of Congress were told in an official briefing. Asking for proof, the three Congressmen who were being briefed were told that the charges were documented in the reports of the investigative officers. The Department of Homeland Security briefer promised to provide this proof that Ramos and Compean had actually intended that day to go out and ``kill a Mexican.'' Of course, the proof never came.

The Congressmen kept asking. Calls weren't returned. The Department of Homeland Security stalled for 5 months. Members asked for copies of the completed report of investigation which should have backed up the alleged facts that were told to Members during the September 26 briefing to the Members of Congress.

Months passed, and nothing more. Just months passed. Nothing from the Department of Homeland Security. Several letter s and public pressure arose, and the Department of Homeland Security finally released a redacted version of the official report of investigation in February 2007. And surprise, surprise, the alleged confession of Ramos and Compean was nowhere to be found in that document. The documentation of the charge that they had brazenly proclaimed their intent to kill a Mexican was not there. But that charge was repeated over and over again.

How could this be? How could the Department of Homeland Security official s, how could they assure Members this was a solid prosecution and that evidence existed that Ramos and Compean were guilty and they wanted to shoot a Mexican? These were flat out lies told to Members of Congress who were being officially briefed by this administration.

During a Department of Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on February 6, 2007, DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner was questioned by Congressman Culberson about this issue. Under oath Skinner acknowledged the information given to the Texas Congressman was in fact false, but he smugly justified his blatant and willful lying by calling it ``mischaracterization unfortunately repeated at the briefing.'' No, Mr. Skinner, it was a lie, no matter how colorful the euphemism.

Ollie North was prosecuted on a charge far less egregious than what we're talking about now. Ollie North gave, or so it was alleged, misinformation to congressional staffers who were not part of an official briefing of Members of Congress; yet, he was prosecuted.

This administration ends up lying in a briefing to Congress and shrugs it off. To this day, absolutely nothing has been done about this crime. And yes, lying to Congress, especially about an issue of this magnitude, is a crime.

Administration officials deliberately misled Members of Congress in order to discourage them from pursuing the Ramos and Compean case, and no one has been held accountable for this crime. The Ramos and Compean case has stunk since day one. The President, instead of looking into the matter, which he should have done, has dug in his heels, permitting his appointees to slander these two agents.

Even worse, the President has personally made decisions that have resulted in these two agents languishing in solitary confinement. They are in solitary confinement because of decisions made directly by the President of the United States. U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton publicly labeled Ramos and Compean as corrupt; yet, again, when asked for some sort of justification on this, what corruption charges were brought against these people, there were no charges of corruption.

To say that this is a mean-spirited and vindictive prosecution is to put it mildly. This case demonstrates why hearings are an integral part of the check-and-balance system created by our Founding Fathers. It is in this venue that the executive branch is held accountable for their actions. Under oath, it was only when an administration official was under oath that the lies about Ramos and Compean were admitted. But this administration has decided to thumb its nose at that obligation and has decided not to make its case under oath at a public hearing and, instead, has actually said things, as I say, calling Ramos and Compean corrupt in radio interviews and such.

Chairman WILLIAM DELAHUNT graciously approved my request to hold hearings on the Ramos and Compean case. In doing so, an official subcommittee investigation into the case in preparation for the hearing was authorized. During the course of this investigation, the resistance from the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and State was consistent with the arrogance and obfuscation that flows through this administration from the top down. Our hearing had to be postponed for months because of the administration's refusal to provide documents or to send the necessa ry witnesses to testify before the subcommittee, citing that the committee did not have proper jurisdiction; therefore, the U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Skinner, or any of his other investigators need not appear. That decision was clearly made by the White House.

Our Government provided a flawed immunity agreement, free health care, unconditional border crossing cards to an illegal alien criminal drug smuggler in exchange for his testimony that sent Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean to prison.

Our Government kept secrets from the jury that the drug dealer intercepted by Ramos and Compean had hauled another shipment of drugs across the border, this, while on a Government-issued border crossing pass.

Clearly, this is well within the jurisdiction of an oversight investigative committee responsible for overseeing relations with other countries, including Mexico, and including international drug smuggling. Clearly, the public has a right to kno w about these things.

This administration apparently believes there is no obligation to answer questions in public and under oath about the actions or policies of the administration. And in preparation for that hearing, we made a request, and request after request, countless phone calls, and even a freedom of information lawsuit by a watchdog group, Judicial Watch, and the administration still refuses to release copies of the border crossing cards that were issued to the drug smuggler in this case. Of c ourse, they are claiming, when we make this request about these cards issued to the drug smuggler that permitted him to freely go across the border, they say that the drug smuggler is protected under, get this, ``the privacy act.'' This is what the Justice Department tells us.

I was instructed by the Justice Department to obtain a privacy waiver in order that that information be released, a privacy waiver for an illegal alien criminal. This is absurd and just another example of the condescending and dis missive attitude. This type of obstructionism, however, is the rule, not the exception, of this administration.

By the way, due to a bureaucratic fluke, the border crossing cards, we actually got a hold of them, and this is how we have learned that this person that was involved with the Ramos and Compean event actually took a second shipment of drugs.

I submit for the Record the letters and copies of these exchanges with the administration.

Washington, DC,
September 12, 2006.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

DEAR ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: We are writing to you as members of Congress with deep concern over the Justice Department's wrongheaded prosecution of two U.S. Bord er Patrol agents who were simply doing their jobs to protect our homeland.

Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean should have been commended by our government for their actions last year in attempting to apprehend a Mexican drug smuggler who brought 743 pounds of marijuana across our border. But because of an incomprehensible prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office--including granting full immunity to the smuggler so he could testify against our agents--these men may soon receive 20-year prison sentences for firing shots at the fleeing smuggler, who they believed carried a gun. The smuggler--who received complete medical care at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas--is now suing the Border Patrol for $5 million for violating his civil rights!

The Justice Department's unjust prosecution does nothing but tie the hands of our Border Patrol and prevent them from securing America against a flood of illegal immigrants, drugs, counterfeit goods and quite possibly, terrorists. This dem oralizing prosecution puts the rights of illegal alien drug smugglers ahead of our homeland security and undermines the critical mission of better enforcing our immigration laws. The convictions against these agents demand oversight.

Due to significant concerns over the circumstances surrounding the prosecution of Agents Ramos and Compean, the House Judiciary Committee has already recognized the need for a thorough review of this case by calling for Congressional hearings and an investigation of the Dep artment of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Mr. Gonzales, we strongly urge the Department of Justice to postpone the sentencing of Agents Ramos and Compean, and to reopen their case for a fuller investigation of the facts.


Walter B. Jones, Tom Tancredo, Ted Poe, Charlie Norwood, Ernest Istook, Dana Rohrabacher, Sue Myrick, Virginia Foxx, John Duncan, Barbara Cubin, Jim Ryun, Virgil Goode, Ginny Brown-Wait e, Gary G. Miller, Kenny Marchant, Ed Whitfield, Ed Rover, Dan Burton, Robin Hayes, Henry Brown, John Campbell, Michael Bilirakis, Members of Congress.

Washington, DC, February 16, 2007.

Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN WAXMAN: This letter responds to concerns expressed in the January 9, 2006, Minority Staff Report, ``Sandy Berger's Theft of Classified Documents: Unanswered Questions'' (``the Report''). The Report alleges failures in the Department's handling of the Berger investigation. We have reviewed the Report and respectfully disagree with its characterization of the Department's investigation.

The Department's investigation began when we were first advised of Berger's actions by the National Archives and Records Administration Inspector General (IG) on October 15, 2003, almost two weeks after Archives staff and agents of the IG had begun their own investigation of the incident. The Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) devoted significant resources to the task, including prosecutors and FBI Special Agents trained in the investigation of national security cases. The FBI conducted over 50 interviews, made inspection s of the Archives facilities, and reviewed thousands of pages of documents, in addition to other law enforcement efforts. We examined Mr. Berger's conduct during all four of his visits to the Archives.

The Report suggests that the Department did not inquire about Mr. Berger's first two visits to the Archives, citing the IG's recollection that the Department had informed the IG in April 2004 that the Department had not questioned Mr. Berger about his May 2002 and July 2003 visits. This suggestion appears to be based on a misunderstanding of the sequence of the Department's investigation. As of April 2004, the Department had not yet asked Mr. Berger any questions, as he had not yet agreed to an interview. When the Department did subsequently interview Mr. Berger, the Department questioned him regarding all of his visits. Furthermore, the Department questioned every witness with knowledge of Mr. Berger's visits about all of his visits. Neither Mr. Berger nor any other witness provided the Department with evidence that Mr. Berger had taken any documents beyond the five referenced in the plea agreement.

In this, as in all criminal investigations, the Department's obligation was to gather the available testimonial and documentary evidence and then rigorously put that evidence to the test--often pitting the memory of witnesses against the written record supplied by the documents--in order to determine as accurate a picture as possible of what transpired. In this case, as in others, some of the initial allegations did not withstand further analysis.

For example, the Report suggests that the Department did not give sufficient weight to the accounts of Mr. Berger's activities provided by Archives staff, most notably the e-mail sent on September 2, 2003, from Official A to Senior Official 1. In this e-mail, Official A described an encounter with Mr. Berger that day in which he saw Mr. Berger ``fiddling with something white which looked to be a piece of paper or multiple pieces of paper'' down by his ankle. The Department was fully aware of this e-mail, and knew that Berger had in fact removed his notes and a document on the visit of September 2, 2003. The e-mail was a significant piece of information that the Department appropriately investigated.

The account described in the e-mail was evaluated in conjunction with Official A's interview with the IG's agents on October 15, 2003, conducted before the Department was involved in the case. The recording and transcript of the interview with the IG's Agents were reviewed in full in the course of our investigation. According to the IG's recorded interview, Official A repeatedly stated that the interaction was ``very quick'' and he could not be certain what he saw. Further, Official A told the IG's Agents, ``I could not, um, you know, swear that what I saw was documents, but it certainly unnerved me enough.'' Later, Official A was asked by the IG's agents how he was feeling and he responded, ``very unsettled. I mean, it's, it's unsettled but at the same time I mean, n ot, not unsettled in the way that I'm a hundred percent sure of what I've seen and, and I'm sick, just like, did I see what, what I, you know possibly could ..... There was a certain grey area in my mind and whether this was actually a document, a piece of paper.''

When Official A was interviewed later by the FBI on October 17, 2003, he once again expressed uncertainty about what he saw, diminishing further the probative value of his e-mail. The e-mail, and Official A's interviews with the IG's agents an d the FBI, had to be further weighed against the evidence that after the e-mail was sent and after Official A discussed with Senior Official 1 what he saw, Senior Official 1 contacted a supervisor, but the Archives staff did not confront Mr. Berger, did not search him, and did not contact any security or law enforcement officials. In light of these additional facts, the Report's suggestion that the Department somehow failed to consider the full import of the e-mail and related information is unfounded.

The Department's analysis of the other documentary and testimonial evidence in this case was similarly thorough. And at the conclusion of its extensive investigation, the Department secured a guilty plea from Mr. Berger, pursuant to which he admitted to ``conceal[ing] and remov[ing]'' five copies of classified documents from the Archives, concealing them at his office, and ``cut[ting] three of the documents into small pieces and discard[ing] them''--all in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1924. April 1, 2005 Factua l Basis for Plea at 2. The Department stands by its investigation and believes that this resolution was the best one possible in light of the available evidence,

The Report also suggests that, as a result of Mr. Berger's conduct, the 9-11 Commission may have been deprived of the information necessary to render its final report. The Departmen t, however, has no evidence indicating that this suggestion is accurate. In the course of its investigation, the Department interviewed numerous witnesses who might have had knowledge of any missing items. None of these witnesses, however, provided the Department with evidence that Mr. Berger's conduct deprived the 9-11 Commission of information or documents. Nor has the IG ever advised us--either at the time of our investigation or at any time since--of any evidence that Mr. Berger had taken any documents other than the five referenced in the plea agreement.

Thus, not the Department, the FBI, or the Archives IG has found any evidence that Mr. Berger took any documents other than the five referenced in the plea agreement. The Department's public statements made after Mr. Berger's April 1, 2005, guilty plea reflected the results of its extensive investigation into this matter, and were based solely on the evidence gathered in that investigation and contained in the detailed factual statement--the contents of which Mr. Berger admitted as a condition of his plea agreement.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Mr. Berger must cooperate with the Archives IG and make himself available for any cooperation with the government. Indeed, on July 8, 2005, after the plea and prior to sentencing, the IG, along with Department attorneys and FBI agents, also questioned Mr. Berger. At this meeting, Mr. Berger was again questioned about all of his visits to the Archives, including those that occurred in May 2002 and July 2003. Again, Mr. Berger's answers in this session were evaluated and compared to his previous answers and the vast amount of evidence collected in the investigation.

In light of Mr. Berger's disclosures during an extensive interview in March 2005 and his acceptance, as part of his guilty plea, of a detailed factual basis for the charges against him, the judgment of the Department and the FBI was not to administer a polygraph examination to Mr. Berger. The Department is aware of no new facts regarding th e law enforcement aspects of this investigation to suggest that it should revisit that judgment.

In closing, I would like to emphasize that the Department's silence with respect to certain other factual assertions and conclusions in the Report should not be mistaken for agreement. Indeed, to cite but one additional example, the Department disagrees with both the manner in which certain of its employees were interviewed and the manner in which their statements to Committee staff were presented in the Repo rt. We nevertheless hope that this letter provides you assurance that the Department takes investigations regarding the mishandling of classified information and documents very seriously, and vigorously investigates and prosecutes those who endanger our national security. We appreciate your attention to this matter.

Richard A. Heating, Acting Assistant Attorney General.

This is plea after plea from Members of Congress, I might add that even a majority of Members of Congress have voted for and supported on both sides of the aisle. Chairman Delahunt of our Investigative Subcommittee knows that there's something wrong with this case. As I say, it stinks and has stunk from the beginning.

We have asked for the President to intervene on behalf of Ramos and Compean personally, either by pardoning or commuting their sentences. These requ ests have been ignored over and over again. And last year, I personally reached out to the President to take the pressure and confrontation out of this issue. I suggested that the President direct the Department of Justice to request that Ramos and Compean be permitted to remain free on bond pending their appeal. Even common criminals in our society are able to stay out pending appeal of a decision.

And what was the response? The White House released a press release the next day, it was issued the very n ext day, proclaiming that the administration opposes letting Ramos and Compean out pending appeal and that no special consideration would be granted to anyone.

Now, that's a lot of holier than thou rhetoric, okay? So no special consideration was going to be given to anyone, much less these two Border Patrol agents. Now, that sounds righteous, a position of not making any exceptions, except, of course, for the fact that a short time later, White House Aide Scooter Libby had his sentence commuted by the President in a heartbeat.

For the record, I found out, and let me just note, I believe that commuting Scooter Libby's sentence was justified. But it's totally inconsistent with what we had been told of why Ramos and Compean couldn't even be considered to let them out, even waiting, pending appeal.

Yeah, Scooter Libby got a raw deal. But the fact is that what's happening, what we see is only members of the President's personal clique get such consideration. It's clear, that's evident, and it's disgraceful.

It is truly with a heavy heart, Madam Speaker, that I stand here reciting example after example of the maliciousness and condescending attitude exhibited by this administration. It is a problem that's flowing from the top.

When I hear my friends on the other side of the aisle accusing this administration of stonewalling, of coverups, or thwarting investigations, I sadly must concur with them. Even though I may disagree with what the policy issue of the day is, I have to agree that Congress is not being treated with respect and that the President is engaged in obfuscating and in stonewalling of rightful requests by this body.

This White House exemplifies needless hostility, turf jealousy, and obstructionism. The American people should know it and should know that these charges come not from a partisan Democrat, but from a lifelong conservative Republican. I have worked in the White House. I worked for 7 years as a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan, as much as people can disagree or agree with the policies that he espoused, was a person who never acted arrogantly towards others. He never, when he was giving State of the Union messages, never used the word ``must,'' never made demands. And I think that President Reagan would not feel comfortable with the type of attitude that is exemplified in this administration. He, instead, wanted to reach out to people and cooperate.

This administration seems to want to just bulldoze whoever gets in their way and does not have the human concern for other people, especially for people like Ramos and Compean, the little guys, that we saw in Ronald Reagan, which made him so popular and successful.

I would ask that the rest of my remarks be put into the Record. Thank you very much for permitting me this hour.

And to the American people, I say, carefully consider who our leaders are going to be and carefully consider the issue of the day. We have a wonderful democratic society. There's a balance of power here set up by our Founding Fathers. And it's important, whether you're Republican or Democrat, that we maintain this balance of an authority, the legislative, executive, and judicial in this country, and we should not be setting precedents that the President of the United States has the lion's share of the power in this great democracy of ours. The power is rested in these three branches and in the people themselves.


As You Can/Will See (Again) We Are Not Alone, continued evidence that this Congress does not represent the people and the only answer is to defeat many of them at the polls in November. It’s the only thing they understand!

March 5, 2008

Dear Representative,

We the undersigned organizations commend the House for refusing to yield to administration fear mongering by passing the worst possible surveillance legislation – S. 2248, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act of 2007. This bill would grant the administration unfettered access to all communications coming into or out of the United States without any meaningful court review or finding of wrongdoing and grant complete immunity to companies that cooperated with illegal wiretapping over the last several years.

As you go forward with negotiations, we ask that you leave the Protect America Act exactly as it is --sunsetted. As House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the Cato Institute noted, America is in no danger from the expiration of this unconstitutional law. Orders issued since last August remain in effect until their internal cease date, up to a year after issuance, ensuring that current surveillance programs will continue, in some cases, into 2009.

These programmatic orders are not limited to individuals or facilities so that new targets can be tapped under existing orders. Of course, the government always has the option of tapping targets immediately and returning to court within 72 hours to obtain a court order under the FISA procedures that have served our intelligence community for nearly 30 years.

Congress should take the time to craft a bill that gives the intelligence community only the narrow authority it needs to track terrorists abroad while protecting the privacy of people in the United States.

It is critical that Congress does not repeat the mistakes made last August when it gave the executive branch the ability to conduct mass, untargeted surveillance, unconnected to suspected terrorists, with no limit on how American information can be used. If you must revise our intelligence laws, we ask that any new statutory authority include the following protections and principles:

Require Court Authorization Before Surveillance Begins. Except in emergency situations, surveillance should never be conducted solely on the basis of the executive branch’s discretion. Courts must have a meaningful role in approving or denying wiretaps.

Prevent Bulk Collection of U.S. Communications. No one disagrees that the government should be able to collect in bulk foreign to foreign communications, whether or not incidentally routed through the U.S. However, when one of the parties is American or located in the U.S., government should only be able listen in if the surveillance is specifically targeted at an individual.

Protect Communications of People in the U.S. Capture of foreign communications can, and should, be conducted in a manner that protects people on U.S. soil. That includes allowing targeting of suspects abroad, but heightening restrictions on the use of information to which a U.S. person is a party. U.S. communications should be used and disseminated only when there is an emergency or a link to terrorism. The government should always be required to return to the FISA court to obtain an individualized order if listening to someone in the U.S. ever becomes a significant purpose of the lawful surveillance of a foreigner.

Exclude Retroactive Immunity for Telecommunication Providers. Neither Congress nor the American public has yet to receive a full accounting of what telecommunication providers did with Americans’ most intimate communications or the legal basis for doing so. Without this information, Congress should not even consider denying Americans their day in court to vindicate their rights.

Provide for Robust Congressional Oversight. Any new authorities must be carefully scrutinized by Congress to ensure that American privacy is protected. Congress has the duty to ensure that the executive branch does not overreach in the name of national security.

Minimize Sunset Provision. The recent sunset of the Protect America Act is a perfect example of how such reasonable expiration dates for laws that implicate basic constitutional principles force the administration and Congress to review whether authorities are truly needed and whether they are narrowly crafted to protect Americans’ rights.

Any new authority should again include a reasonably short sunset.

Indeed, the House of Representatives has already taken the first step towards restoring our rights by letting the Protect America Act sunset.

It would be a travesty, if after making this courageous move, Congress ultimately decided to pass a bill that substantially replicated that overreaching authority. We fully appreciate the intense pressure you are experiencing from the fear-mongering of this administration, but your resolution in the face of such tactics is truly the patriotic action.


American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE)

American Civil Liberties Union

American Humanist Association

American Library Association

Arab American Institute

Asian American Justice Center

Association of Research Libraries

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Citizen Outreach Project

Common Cause

Congressman Bob Barr

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Defending Dissent Foundation

Democracy for America

Doctors for Open Government, Inc.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Government Accountability Project

Grassroots America

Japanese American Citizens League

League of Women Voters

Liberty Coalition

Muslim Public Affairs Council

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

National Immigrant Solidarity Network

National Lawyers' Guild--National Office


OMB Watch

PEN American Center

People For the American Way

Privacy Activism

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Republican Liberty Caucus

September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)

The New Grady Coalition

The Student Health Integrity Project

U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Utility Consumers' Action Network

If You Need Or Want Any Of The Widgets That Have Appeared Here Recently

Military/ Industrial Complex News

Protests force Army to rebid $20B in tech contracts [Washington, D.C.]

AT&T, Verizon, Qwest selected for $20 billion GSA contract [San Antonio]

Boeing files formal protest to Northrop's tanker contract win [Los Angeles]

Pelosi: ?The Democratic Budget Plan Makes Clear That American Values are the Values of This House? (GAG!)

WASHINGTON, March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after the House passed a fiscally responsible Democratic budget plan by a vote of 212 to 207:

"Budgets are more than just accounting documents. Budgets are statements of our national values. With this budget, the New Direction Congress is saying that we value families and their economic future. We will fight to ensure that their hard work is rewarded and that the American dream is renewed.

"Because we value our valiant men and women in uniform, we will insist that they receive the tools and training they need to perform their mission and that they will return home to high quality health care. Because we value our children, we will invest in their education, their health care, and their future, and do this without leaving them a legacy of debt.

"The Democratic budget plan makes clear that these American values are the values of this House. The Democratic budget plan puts future generations first by moving us to surplus by 2012.

"While watching the bottom line, our budget is also a plan to get our economy moving by: helping families avoid foreclosure; lowering taxes; investing in renewable energy to make America more energy independent and to create green jobs; creating new generation of innovators by investing in math, science, engineering and technology to keep good jobs in America; rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure; and making health care more affordable for families and veterans. These are priorities that the leading economic experts have said will put our nation on solid economic footing.

"Our budget is a plan for a stronger America that begins to restore military readiness and better protect Americans against terrorism. Ours is a plan to make Americans safer, and stands in stark contrast to the President's priorities in Iraq. We begin to re-establish America's strength by rebuilding our military, investing in the equipment and training they require, and making caring for our troops, veterans, and military families a top priority."

Note: For a detailed summary of the Democratic budget, visit:

SOURCE: Office of the Speaker of the House

Mark Penn: Clinton Egomaniac Problem They fight with Obama; They fight with themselves! And some Republicans steal fron each other…The Post fronts the next piece of the puzzle that is former National Republican Congressional Committee Treasurer Christopher J. Ward, a highly regarded accountant who is under investigation for allegedly skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, from GOP coffers.

Unlike Wall Street rip-offs, which tend to require fleets of trucks to haul the stolen loot, Ward is accused of having picked one trusting pocket at a time. "Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) told The Post this week that Ward paid himself $6,000 from King's PAC in 2007 after the congressman thought he had closed down the committee."—TP's other employer—"reported last night that Ward lent himself more than $4,200 from the political action committee of Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), an unusual expenditure for a campaign treasurer to make. Ward repaid the money early last month, after the FBI was called in to investigate his work at the NRCC, reported."

Under The Heading Of Do You Believe Someone Even Said This!

The fall of soon-to-be-former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer continues, though attention is waning, with the Times taking the lead in what could evolve into a local story. The paper has word that investigators suspect Spitzer might have used campaign funds to pay for prostitutes.

Yep, the story will fade until he’s charges, after all it’s only a politician “Screwing Around” literally.

A friend of Mr. Spitzer’s, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reacted with fury at the news that prosecutors appeared to be widening their inquiry to include money spent on campaign trips that may have involved trysts with prostitutes.

“At some point, this becomes piling on,” the friend said. The friend said that he would be stunned if “a judge or jury would convict a man for something like this. It’s very low grade,” adding, “Why would prosecutors pursue this?”

Geraldine Ferraro’s Disappointing And Dumb Race Gaffe
Donklephant - USA
I look to Mark Warner as an example of somebody who may have been that guy had he decided to keep going. But maybe he saw that in Obama and thought he was a ...
See all stories on this topic (Race, Race Race)

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